Although it might not be as festive as the idyllic White Christmas that Bing Crosby sings about, some residents on the Northside might actually benefit from a dry, warm holiday season.
Dry weather in late November and early December could give contractors the conditions needed to repave Eastover Drive.
The street is slated to be repaved as part of the Eastover Drive Water Main Replacement Project. Engineers say the pipe will likely be in place between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
However, it will be the rain and the thermometer that determine whether the final phase of the project, the street overlay, will be completed before Christmas or later in the spring.
“Weather permitting, it might not be done until later,” said Jim Stewart, an engineer with Southern Consultants. “It is part of the job, so it will be done.”
Southern Consultants is the engineering firm that designed the $1.13 million project.
Work includes installing a new water main under the roadway between Ridgewood Road and Lake Circle and repaving the roadway once the line is in place. The project is a continuation of the first phase, which included adding a new water main along the same street between Ridgewood Road and the I-55 North frontage road.
Stewart said if weather cooperates, contractors could repave the road around Christmas or shortly after. If not, they likely could be forced to wait until spring.
Temperatures need to be above 50 degrees Fahrenheit to pour asphalt. The weather also needs to be dry. Crews can’t lay asphalt in the rain, because the wet weather would cause it to crack and deteriorate prematurely.
Typically, Jackson’s average high for December is 58 degrees, with the average December precipitation around 5.16 inches.
Last December was warm enough to lay asphalt, but not dry enough. According to the National Weather Service, Jackson received 8.03 inches of rain, while experiencing 18 days of light rain and one day of heavy rain.
The main is being installed by Utility Constructors. The Jackson-based firm was awarded a contract in June.
As of last week, crews has made significant progress. About 2,000 feet of the new water line has been put in the ground, with about 2,500 to 3,000 feet to go.
“We’re 30 to 40 percent done,” Stewart said. “Right on schedule.”
Once the line is in place, contractors will tie it into the city’s water system and fill the trench. The existing water main, which has been in place for more than 50 years, will be abandoned.
Work is being funded by the city’s one-percent infrastructure sales tax. The first and second phases were included in the first-year master plan, which was completed in 2015.